Feelings

Life becomes a little easier when you begin to realize that feelings are meant to be felt, not meant to wreck you. That sometimes the only thing that is really wrong is your mindset, not your situation. You have the power to create something wrong just by the way you are looking it.

Just because you have a frightening moment doesn’t mean your world is about to collapse.

featured artist

Aniela Sobieski

Inspired By Every Version of You

The practice of putting down the score card of assessment and focusing on loving our selves as we are – in constant transformation. By Madeline Johnson

Your true essence is unchangeable but you can choose a different identity at any time.  Your identity is who you see yourself to be; as you express this identity, it becomes the ‘package’ by which others identify you.

If you’re no longer inspired by the way you see yourself and others see you, you can adopt a new identity by changing your beliefs, choosing to accentuate other personality traits, emphasizing different values, or adding a new flavor to your self-expression. 

Our beliefs and values can change overtime, and what used to define you strongly may no longer be an authentic part of you.

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Our bodies know this instinctively. Our bodies are in a state of constant transformation and renewal. On average, our small intestine and stomach cells turnover every 3 days. Our bones renew their osteoclasts every two weeks. Our skin sheds every 10 – 30 days, depending on our age.

Up until very recently, it was believed that our heart cells could not regenerate.

Each morning, we awake a slightly new and fresh version of ourselves.

Yet we continue to judge ourselves. We are especially good at judging our old selves. We practice self-judgement every time we compare who we are with who we should be.

Yet, every day we are given the opportunity to be someone new.

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The practice of putting down the score card of assessment and focusing on loving our selves as we are – in constant transformation – is the perfect anecdote.

Featured Artist

Instagram @strangecomplexbeauty

 

In Search of A More Peaceful Existence

Enough with the busy, busy, busy going nowhere fast. Let’s find the time to do some deeper work. By Madeline Johnson

Each year, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases the Global Peace Index. This is a study of 163 independent nations and territories around the world that uses indicators to determine which nations are the most dangerous, as well as which are the most peaceful. At the top of this list is Iceland. This isn’t a surprise, as this nation has taken the top spot for 10 years in a row. Features that stand out in this country that make it the most peaceful in the world is low crime rates and “non-existent” tension among the economic classes. My husband says it’s because very few people live there.

Why am I searching for the most peaceful places in the world?

I am in search of stillness, peace and more time for me. A place where I can savor the day and not feel engulfed by the competitive madness and ongoing consumption.

It Takes Time To Be Better

You see, when you set out to improve your life, to be a better person, you take on the responsibility of owning your actions, behavior, thoughts, words and reactions to others. This process invites you to continually observe yourself and treat your life like an experiment. You are the lab rat.  This self-inventory and reflection takes time and deep thought. So most of us who claim we don’t have that extra time to focus on ourselves, are advised to get up earlier. Yes, rise up at 5:00 am so you can have an hour or so to yourself. Time to journal, meditate, pray and contemplate your existence without a flurry of text messages or email requests disrupting your concentration.

Now the rest of the day is spent showering, eating, commuting, emailing, talking, working, writing, waiting in line, food prepping, laundering, shopping, and the list goes on.  . .

I ask you, what kind of world do we live in that we are told just 10 minutes a day of meditation and a few yoga breaths and stretches is all we need to feel better?

Enough with the busy, busy, busy going nowhere fast.

Let’s find the time to do some deeper work. Some unraveling of our emotions, resting of our souls, listening to our hearts, feeling our emotions, basking in our spirit and rising to our light.

 

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Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.

-Rita Schiano

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Featured Art

Kulinovic Marko on Instagram

 

Trusting Yet Knowing The Truth

How can we trust, and at the same time know the truth? By Madeline Johnso

I am suspended somewhere between holding onto my childlike naiveté about the way things should be, yet knowing that there is a strong amount of grotesque greed and selfishness in the world.

I am at a cross road – confused -facing my deep desire to believe that people are generally good but  certain that everyone has their own agenda. I must keep a watchful eye.

I want to fall back into my life. On to a soft cloud of pure honestly.  I want to roam free where everything is safe and meant to support me.

How can I trust, and at the same time know the truth?

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@Trippy Artwork on Instagram

 

Clarity About Your Contribution

I believe if we can share what we have learned along the way, we might be able shed light on the dark edges of the path for others. By Madeline Johnson

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.  

-Anne Frank

I keep telling myself, “you can’t do everything, but you can do something.”  My issue, is scattered energy. I struggle with staying focused and seeing things through. I start, I stop and I keep bouncing around from one great idea to another. Everything and nothing excites me all at once.

It’s probably why I am reading Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul for the third time. The only thing I can do is laugh at myself. Such a beautiful mess.

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Seeking More Clarity About My Contribution

So, of course I was inspired by Jordan Bach today. Yet another one of you on the world wide web sharing wisdom and inspiration. I am in awe.

Jordan encourages his community to petition God, the Universe, their Higher Power for more clarity about their contribution to the world.  What is it that you want me to do with these gifts I am not sure I actually have?

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Jordan guides us to believe that only loving thoughts are true.  The rest of your fear-based spin outs, that “negative thinking” thing we all do – the “doubting thing” that is  simply false and harmful?

We must remember no amount of negativity will serve us well at all.

To Be Such A Beautiful Mess

We are all human, and to be human is a very complex way to be. Most of our lives are messy.  Some of us have created a more beautiful mess than others, but a mess just the same.

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The question is, as you become more centered and grounded, as you get closer to what your unique contribution looks and feels like – are you going to share your mess or are you going to share your message?

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Are you sharing the grace and illumination you have received from the pain you have suffered?  This, I believe is a hint, a God wink, to where your contribution might reside.

I believe if we can share what we have learned along the way, we might be able shed light on the dark edges of the path for others.

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Inspiration

Wisdom of the Oracle cards

Jordan Bach

 

Featured Artist

Irina Silviu

 

It’s a Good Day, All Day

Understanding what triggers you emotionally and setting yourself up for a good day. By Madeline Johnson

Mondays can bring so much promise. Like a new year, Mondays can offer a clean slate. A fresh start. A chance to begin again as you plot and plan for a better, more productive week.

Setting out to have a good day, a good week or a good year begins with a conscious knowledge of one’s own feelings, motives, and desires. It starts with knowing who you are and how you will navigate your day to get where you want to go. You understand there will be inevitable distractions.

You need to know what sets you off. What disrupts your day. What makes you feel angry, needy, shutdown and frustrated. What triggers a bad mood for you.  Anything that makes you experience a negative emotional response that could pull you off course.

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Understanding how you react to people and situations throughout the day will help you identify patterns in your life and develop a better understanding of the events in your life that usually lead to a problem, similar to what Mei does at work. Mei is an artificial intelligence messaging assistant that warms of personality changes based on communication with co-workers.

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Knowing What Set’s You Off

What triggers you? It’s important to identify when you feel the need to be accepted by others, understood, in control of the situation, paid attention to, at peace. Understand if it is important for you to have things in order, to feel safe and secure, to have a bit of fun during the day. Are you getting the respect you think you deserve? Do you feel like your talents are needed?

Do you always need to feel right? Are you comfortable? Calm? Do you feel as if your life is balanced? Are you spending too much time on work and not enough with your friends? Is your life way too predictable? Are you a bit bored with what you are doing?

Could you use a bit of challenge in your career? Your relationship? Are you feeling like you are liked, valued and being treated fairly by others?

Does everything feel a bit too chaotic around you? Like something could break, crack or fall apart at any minute?

Do you believe that others are ignoring you? Avoiding you? Do you feel included?

Make it your mission to understand how you operate.

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If at any point during the day you feel out of sorts, off, emotionally frustrated, take a pause.  Breathe deeply. Calm your mind. Don’t get so worked up.

Try sitting up straight and breathing deeply to the count of six. Breathe through your nose for six counts and out your mouth for six. Go slowly. Deep, deliberate inhalations and exhalations. This will calm you down.

Take a moment to understand what you need right now? Do you need to be patient? More tolerant? Less tolerant? Perhaps you need to explain yourself again? Let others know how you feel? Show some compassion? Walk away?

Before you take action, question your own thinking. Know if what you are thinking and feeling is actually true, or if it is a projection of what you negatively think is true.

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What might trigger you?

  • Someone rejecting you.
  • Someone leaving you (or the threat that they will).
  • Helplessness over painful situations.
  • Someone discounting or ignoring you.
  • Someone being unavailable to you.
  • Someone giving you a disapproving look.
  • Someone blaming or shaming you.
  • Someone being judgmental or critical of you.
  • Someone being too busy to make time for you.
  • Someone not appearing to be happy to see you.
  • Someone coming on to you sexually in a needy way.
  • Someone trying to control you.
  • Someone being needy, or trying to smother you.

Read more here

You’ll probably want to avoid them, but find out why they are behaving the way they are – and why you are reacting they way you do.

Realize everyone is trying to trigger you.

Advertisers and marketers bake emotional triggers into their brand messaging. They know how strong emotional triggers will motivate you to act from feelings like fear and desire.  These emotions have effect on you, whether it’s feeling like your life is lacking excitement, adventure and love from an Instagram story to feeling like you are a lonely, loser and not enough from a YouTube ad. The messages are incessant. Turn them off.

Getting a leg up on emotional triggers. Face them . . .

  • Do the most important things first this morning. Understand what you need to do vs what you want to do.
  • Watch what you tolerate.
  • Expect yourself to be triggered by something or someone and have a plan. Avoid or face it.
  • Spend some time alone during the day.
  • Practice being more compassionately assertive.
  • Decide how you will respond to how others mistreat you. Not react. Respond.
  • Try to understand others. God only knows what they are going through.
  • Protect your time at all costs. Tech apps below to do just that.
  • Let others know when you won’t be available. Make something up – like you have an important meeting to go to. They won’t know. Or tell the truth. You are working on something big and need to focus.
  • Decide what you will pay attention to today. If you can, put your phone on airplane mode for a while.

Be strong.

8 Things Mentally Strong People Do Everyday

Technology to help you say no to distractions and to help you have a better day, all day.

Freedom app helps you protect your time, so you can focus on getting things done during the day.

One Big Thing ensures that you focus on your main priority, that one big thing, all day long.

Headspace is like a gym membership for your mind. 10 minutes of meditation a day to help burn off the busy in your brain.

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Featured Art

Indonesia based artist Roby Dwi Antono works meticulously in painting, illustration, and drawing.  His paintings are especially detailed, depicting dreamy scenes.

What Motivates Most of Us

What really motivates us is our need to be loved and heard. By Madeline Johnson

What motivates most of us is . . .
. . .the desire to feel loved and appreciated. . .
. . .the wish to be admired and acknowledged. . .
. . .the longing to be heard and to seem relevant. . .
. . .the need to feel important and significant. . .
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When you say Never mind, Whatever, Forget about it, I really don’t care,  It doesn’t even matter . . . .you are lying to yourself.
You’re being dishonest with yourself and with the world.
And this is what holds you back.  This is what keeps you from getting anywhere.
Reality is, you do care.

Now just imagine if you were vulnerable enough to express yourself. . . if you could share your inner truth . . .  see my worth, recognize my value, love me for who I am dammit!

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Then you’d be sharing some hard core truth.
The goal should be to get closer to a state of “self-congruence” — in which what we say, think, and feel is consistent with who we are inside. And the truth is we are dying inside for some unconditional love.
Honor this. . .the truth, because the fact is, you do care. You care so much it hurts.
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So go ahead, pay attention, tend to yourself and your need to be loved, acknowledged and heard.
Grow to become more honest with who you are and less delusional about yourself.
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Artwork by
Rene Magritte was an internationally acclaimed surrealist artist of all time, yet it was not until his 50s, when he was finally able to reach some form of fame and recognition for his work. Rene Magritte described his paintings saying, “My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does that mean?’ It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing, it is unknowable.”

A Heart-Breaking, Soul-Healing, Amazingly Awful & Ordinary Life

Some of my recent morning notes from inspiring books I’ve been reading. Links included.

Our humanity is expressed must fully in our treatment of others. 

Performance psychologist, Jim Loehr in Tribe of Mentors

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Spencer Tunick’s Nude Installations

It is okay to wander. It is never a mistake to get lost looking for the psychic and soulful kinship of our desires. 

Women Who Run with Wolves

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When we get lost, we need only pause and look at what is true and relax in our heart. We arrive again. Remembering the light of our nature.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

When I feel overwhelmed I realize I am bottlenecked. Bottlenecks help me prioritize.  Feeling overwhelmed can prove to be very useful.

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Attitude before anything. It all starts in your head. Anything can be done with ease when you have the right mind set.

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Discipline equals freedom. Discipline with our time by keeping to a schedule; discipline with our sleep, keeps us awake and energized; discipline with our meals and exercise keeps our health optimal. When we are feeling fully alive, we are free. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

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Everyone has the freedom of choice to express either their high self or something else. Sacred Poetry & Mystical Messages

 

Featured Art 

For nearly seven decades, June Leaf (b. 1929) has created a deeply imagined world of unreal creatures and settings that metaphorically probe the human condition.

 

How to Get Those Haters to Help You Grow

Madeline Johnson discussing the benefits of listening to your inner critic to help you grow.

We all have a voice in our head that is critical, judgmental, and disapproving of ourselves. Rarely does it ever champion you onward or applaud you for good work. Typically it sounds like the voice of one of your biggest haters.
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Now, that voice can be soft and it can be loud and sometimes we choose not to listen.  We may hear it in specific situations (triggers) or with specific people. Sometimes, however, that inner voice is constantly giving us unsolicited commentary and incessant chatter, becoming part of what Buddhists would call our Monkey Mind.
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When you begin to listen to your inner critic what you will hear is a voice with messages composed of ideas, beliefs, emotions, and thoughts that try to manage your experience by telling you when we’re doing something right or wrong.
But this morning, I had an idea. It was inspired by a book that I am reading, Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul.
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The inner critic is acquired and internalized as young children and as we grow, and it continues to develop throughout our lives. Read more on GoodTherapy.org.
My idea involved listening to my inner critic because I wondered if she has some valuable things to share. Not everything, but maybe some pearls of wisdom to help me grow.
For example –
Voice of my inner critic (sometimes my mother, father or grandmother):
You are rushing and your work is so sloppy.
My interpretation:    Maybe I should slow down and pay attention to the details?
My inner critic (my daughter Aja):
Your voice is so annoying. You sound so bossy and bitchy.
Translate to:     Why don’t I slow my speech and soften my tone a bit so others are more responsive?
Inner Critic (my bat-shit crazy ex): You’re too serious and intense for people. You’re no fun.
Well, how about I lighten up a bit and stop trying to control everything around me?
Listening doesn’t mean agreeing with what the critic says all the time. Accepting it doesn’t mean taking on its criticism. Embracing it doesn’t mean believing that its judgments are fair or accurate.
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Art by @brookeshaden

The Audacity to Act on Your Dreams and Learning to Trust Yourself

Today’s thought is about the many ways we disappoint ourselves when we say we will do one thing and then do the exact opposite, or maybe, we do nothing at all.
A lack or slack in self-trust can be a very dangerous and stagnating trait to have because it keeps us stuck.
How does the lack of self-trust show up in our lives? Well, sometimes we fantasize about the future to escape the present.
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It’s when fantasy becomes fact in our minds that we begin not to believe or trust ourselves anymore.  This lack of self-trust becomes a black hole that consumes our self-respect.
But how does this happen? A 16-minute read from Mark Manson that will kinda blow your mind about what self-trust means.
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There is no one behavior that will permit you to suddenly trust yourself.  However, a collection of small actions over time will alchemize and inspire an improved sense of trust.
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No. 1 Don’t deceive yourself. See things as they are, not how you wish they would be. As hard as this is, it’s gravely important, less you desire to be repeating  “why didn’t I see that coming?So often we ignore the truth for the lies we prefer.

No. 2 Speaking of repetitive behavior, never repeat the same mistake. Once repeated it’s not a mistake, it’s a damn decision.  Write that mistake down, make it a part of your mantra, tattoo it on your arm, just remember it deeply and move on. Whether that is a person you need to let go of, something you must apologize for or something you did that really hurt another.
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No. 3 Explore. So often, we think we are stuck where we are and we convince ourselves that this is the best place we could be because we are just ignorant of what lies beyond our sites. Get out there, adventure something bigger than what you have right now.
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No. 4. Face the truth. What is your life really like right now? Work with what you have and try something, using what you have, to propel yourself into action. You will astonish yourself when you see how creative you can be.
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No. 5. Tell yourself the truth and speak the truth to all. Do not underestimate the raw power of choosing to be honest in both word and action with everyone including yourself.

No. 6. Do not lie or conceal anything to protect others, no matter how tempting, no matter how little and white or and no matter how small. Tiny lies will eat away at you. You are not “protecting” anyone, including yourself. Speak the truth to your friends, family, and colleagues. It is amazingly refreshing and what the world needs.
No. 7. Do something good, no matter how small, for yourself each day. For one hour a day put yourself first.  Sign up for that class, go for a hike, read that book, write that poem, learn that dance, try that new meal you have been wanting to prepare. Carve out that time for you and no one else.
No. 8. Working towards a goal? a dream? Do something today to move you closer to it and catch yourself quickly if you fall prey to extensive planning and research. That is not moving towards the goal and is a symptom of not trusting yourself. Act, don’t just dream.
No. 9. When trying to make a decision, understand that there is more than one answer, so when figuring out your problem, think of few solutions, and choose the one that resonates and most appeals to you.  Sure it might not be the best solution, but you must get used to making decisions regardless.
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No. 10 Keep small promises to yourself today and please don’t set yourself up for disappointment – take the pressure off – put less on your list. Do the most important and a few of the little things.
No. 11 Take a good look in the mirror. Watch how you talk to yourself inside your head all day. Are you an enemy or a friend?  Be a good friend to you.
No. 12. Trust in your own direct experience, just because someone said on the internet that something is good for you, doesn’t mean it is good for YOU.
No. 13. When considering other people’s advice and opinions, ask yourself, “Do I want to be like this person? If the answer is yes, give their perspective more weight than if the answer is no. If the answer is no and you still take their advice seriously, you are signaling to yourself to trust people you don’t admire more than you trust yourself.
No. 14. Give yourself permission today to freely act on your own truth, logic, and intuition and open your mind to new ideas. Do as James Altucher recommends and keep a log of 10 new ideas a day.  They don’t all have to be good, they just have to be new.
No. 15.  Do not allow yourself to consume bad-tasting conversation or sugar-loaded condiments disguised as delicious and nutritious health foods. Anything you consume should be real, honest and true, so be aware of who you surround yourself with and the habits and meals they bring to the table.
No. 16.  Feel your way to self-trust.

“As we learn to recognize and understand the body’s subtle sensations, and then act on them, our self-trust will grow tremendously. To me it is rather amazing that the body has this innate sense of the truth, as if the body is hardwired for it,” states psychotherapist John Prendergast Ph.D.

Read more here @thoughtcatalog

Begin to sense your surroundings and the people in your line of site with more than your mind. When you are anywhere, begin to feel the energy around you. Get to know yourself better and become aware of how you feel, sensations that arise including smells, tastes, and sounds when you meet someone. Don’t just use your brain.  Using other senses helps you to become more aware of what triggers you and either builds self-trust or breaks it down.
No. 17 Use tools and technology to help you trust yourself.  Here are six wearable devices to track your stress levels and emotions.
Wearable technology already can tell you about your heart rate, sleep patterns, health habits and breathing patterns; all of which can provide just as much insight into your emotional state as your physical state. For example, one Fitbit wearer discovered his device recorded the moment of his breakup. His heart rate soared at the bad news and stayed elevated for the rest of the day as he dealt with the sadness and heartache, showing how closely his emotions affected his physical state. But now, more wearables on the market are designed specifically to monitor your feelings, not just your physical state. These devices work by measuring everything from breathing and heart rate to speech patterns and brainwaves. Armed with information, you learn to recognize your emotional states and learn how to soothe your reactions and control your responses.
More on how to begin to trust yourself from @zenhabits
Art by surreal photos by @Rayda_ealvay, a 19-year-old self-taught photographer, retoucher, and artist based in Perm, Russia. Rayda manipulates her self-portraits into surrealist explorations of identity, emotions, and dreams.